Tuesday, September 23, 2008

In which we go on an ADVENTURE

My daughter and doggie and I headed out into the wild for an adventure. My daughter claimed that she had found a bubbling spring several months ago and she wanted to take me to it.

We headed out into the old farmer's field whose last crop of corn was harvested seven years ago. It's now full of goldenrod (note, you may click on any of the pictures to see a larger version and then click on the back arrow to return to the blog):

A brave aster rose above:

We walked along a deer path while we could:

And still we were swallowed by the goldenrod:

In the field we spotted a garden spider busy on her web:

And a mantis with one green eye and one black eye:

Here's one with both eyes the same color:

When the deer path petered out, we made our own:

When we finally reached the forest, we were met by the muddy, upturned roots:

Of a new-fallen tree:

At times the forest gave way to swampy areas inhabited by tall, reedy grasses. Here are a few at the edge of a much larger patch:

A raccoon had crossed the still-muddy bottom of a drying creek bed and left his prints:

Bark on some of the larger trees formed interesting patterns:

Moss peeked through the detritus covering the forest floor here and there:

As did other interesting things:

My handsome doggie always loves to go for walks in the woods:

This mushroom looks as though something tried to eat it:

The colors of fall aren't up in the trees yet, you have to look around more closely to see the colorful bounty the plants have worked all summer to produce:

A large tree fall. We've seen this one before:

When we emerged from the forest again we encountered a type of thistle with the softest fluff:

And other interesting things:

This leaf brought to you by the letter "J":

My daughter captured this beautiful flower with her camera:

And that's not all that she captured:

Here is an interesting, if gruesome, story. Last winter in about a foot of snow, we trudged through the goldenrod field. At one point we noticed that our footprints were bloody. The blood was not from us. It was a large area in which the snow had been soaked in blood and then had been covered by fresh snowfall. Icky. Upon reaching the woods, my daughter spotted more blood. She found a deer with a newly missing leg which had somehow hobbled to a place underneath the branches of a fallen tree, lain down, shut its eyes, and died.

We don't know how it lost its leg, but it had traveled quite a long distance without it, as evidenced by the blood trail. We hadn't been back to that spot since winter, so we went to see what was left of the deer. We found its bones in the same spot, though they had been moved around a bit by scavengers:

We found the part of the leg bone with the trauma caused when the deer lost the rest of the leg:

Here's a comparison of the injured bone with the same bone from the other leg:

We don't know what happened. It looks more like a clean slice rather than something that might have happened in an encounter with a car. If a car or truck had done this, I would think that it would have been smashed, rather that have such clean-looking trauma. But I'm no expert. To us it's a mystery.

Well, we didn't find the bubbling spring, but it's been very dry here for the past few months. We'll go looking for it again after the fall rains have replenished the water table. We did, however have a run-in with one more deer. This one very much alive.

On the way home, we skirted the goldenrod field at its edge where we could make use of a deer trail so we wouldn't have to blaze one of our own. I said, "Thank goodness for the deer," and as if on cue a giant buck jumped up from its resting place not five feet away, off to the left in the goldenrod. He rose, facing us with a huge rack of antlers, then instantly turned and bounded off into the expanse of goldenrod, velvet hanging from his antlers and swaying as he leapt.

I will tell you that it was scary facing those antlers for that split second. My daughter remarked that it's getting to be rutting season and she was glad he wasn't feeling crazy enough to attack. We wouldn't have fared well in the encounter.

The goldenrod was too tall for our dog to see what had happened. He was so startled that he just froze. Usually he'll try to chase deer if he sees them. I'm glad he didn't this time.

It all happened so quickly that I wasn't able to get a picture of the buck, but I snapped this shot of his nest of squashed-flat goldenrod where he had been bedded down before we startled him. I know, it's not a great picture, but I was holding the camera up over the goldenrod in front of me so I could take it:

And that was our adventure. We made it back home, tired and full of little burrs, but happy. Thanks for letting us share our adventure with you.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Ants, aphids, hornets and kittens

There are some interesting things happening on my calendula. I have aphids and ants:

It's only on one of my plants. Here they are close up:

I'm sure their relationship must be beneficial - to each other, not to my calendula.

In an earlier post I included a picture of a hornet's nest that had been blown down in a storm. Here's the original picture:

And here's what the nest looks like now. A racoon or something found it the other night and ripped it apart, I guess to get an the larvae still inside:

Here's one section of cells from inside the nest. These look like they were mostly empty already. The cells that looked like they might still have contained something had been munched and all that remained were a few pieces with some black remnant of past occupants clinging to the bottom:

Kitten update ~ Freki kitten has begun tentative explorations of the outside:

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Poetry Friday

Here is my contribution to Poetry Friday, which some of the bookish-type blogs participate in. This is an original poem which came to me as I mowed the lawn this morning:

Escaping murderous blades,
In my hand.

I'm sure that is the first and last contribution I will ever make to Poetry Friday. If you would like to see a real Poetry Friday post, you can visit this blog.

Goldenrod - not just for meadows anymore

Back in my earlier post about making goldenrod salve when I said that it wasn't a miracle cream - I was lying. It is. No kidding. I had one of those tight muscles in my neck this morning. I put some of my goldenrod salve on it. Around twenty or thirty minutes later I noticed it was gone (the tightness and pain, not the muscle).

It usually takes a few days for those things to finally go away on their own. I love my goldenrod salve.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Bloom Day September!

It's bloom day again! Every 15th of the month it comes around. I love looking at other bloom day posts to see what's blooming in other people's gardens the world over. If you would like to see these posts, or if you would like to share what's blooming in your garden, head over to the May Dreams Gardens blog. To share pictures of your garden, leave a link to your blog in the comments section. Or simply follow the links already there to see some truly beautiful pictures from gardens the world over.

I'm located up here in northeast Ohio. This morning when I went out to capture what was blooming, I was met with a lot of debris from the stormy winds we had yesterday. The remnants of Ike blew through. I'm thankful that we only had to put up with gusts of around 60mph - they were potent enough for me. My heart goes out to all of those in Texas and in the Caribbean who bore the brunt of the storm.

A wasp's [edit here: this is a hornet's nest, which I knew, but typed 'wasp'. Carol pointed out the error of my ways - thanks!] nest had blown from a maple tree in my yard. See how some of the leaves have been incorporated into the nest?

Even a 'helicopter' seed from the tree became part of the nest:

Here's the entrance to the nest - there were still a few wasps [hornets] flying around:

Some debris from trees:

Sadly, my sunflowers didn't hold up well in the winds. I had eleven and now I have just three remaining:

Here's a sunflower that was going to seed that was blown down and landed amongst the zucchini. Apparently I have a slug problem too:

Here are some calendula that I haven't harvested yet to dry:

Ground cover showing some color:

A buggie in my Autumn Joy sedum:

In The Park Next Door
These pictures are not in my yard, they are from the park right next door. I always enjoy the wildflowers found on the untamed fringes.
The chicory is so resilient that even when it's mowed to a nub, it still blooms:

I have no idea what this wildflower is. It was about 3 or 4 inches high, and it was the only one I saw:

These flowers were blooming along the edge of the pond in the park. I thought at first that they were marsh marigolds, but the foliage isn't quite right. Does anyone know what they are?:

And of course there was lots and lots of goldenrod in bloom. The asters are just starting to bloom here in northeast Ohio and sometimes they mix in with the goldenrod. It was still a tad windy this morning so my goldenrod-aster mix picture shows the motion. The asters on the right are still a bit storm-worn:

That's all I have for bloom day September - thanks for stopping by!

If you want to take a look at a little post I did about a bog walk I went on a couple of weeks ago, just click here. You'll see a couple of carnivorous plants, some cranberries, and a few other things - yes, all of it here in Ohio!